The deadline isn’t until April 7, but Colorado Parks and Wildlife is urging big-game hunters to apply for licenses now.
Hunters have many choices to make regarding what, where, when and how to hunt, and everyone born in 1949 or after must have hunter education certification.
Applications can be done online at the Parks and Wildlife website.
“CPW’s website offers essential information for preparing for the big game season, as well as a secure license application portal to submit applications,” agency spokesman Matt Robbins said in a news release.
Parks and Wildlife offered this multistep process in applying for a license:
A hunter education certification and card number are required before applying for or purchasing a Colorado hunting license if you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1949.
Colorado honors hunter education certifications from other states, countries and Canadian provinces. Read more or find a class at CPW’s Hunter Education page.
Colorado offers draws for eight big game species as well as turkey. The Big Game brochure contains regulations for deer, elk, pronghorn, moose and bear, and the Sheep and Goat brochure contains regulations for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, desert bighorn sheep and mountain goat.
Brochures are available online or in print at CPW offices or any of the 750 license vendors throughout the state.
Decide where to hunt
Colorado is divided into hunting areas called game management units. Each year, a limited number of licenses are allotted to each GMU. Colorado also offers some over-the-counter licenses that are not limited in number. Check out state maps and unit descriptions in the brochure or online.
Pick your season
Season dates differ by species, but, in general, archery season starts in late August and lasts almost a month. Muzzleloader season starts in the middle of archery season, and four rifle seasons follow that. The first rifle season (Oct. 10-14), is limited to elk hunting only. The second (Oct. 17-25), third (Oct. 31-Nov. 8) and fourth (Nov. 11-15) rifle seasons are combined seasons, where deer and elk hunters are in the field at the same time. The Colorado Big Game Hunting Planner lists season dates, fees and application dates and deadlines.
Colorado offers distinct seasons for archery, muzzleloader and rifle hunting. Legal requirements for the various hunting methods and transporting them in the field are in the brochures.
Select hunt code
The hunt code includes the species, sex, game management unit, season/dates and method of take and is required for applying. Applications are species-specific, and you may choose up to four hunt codes for each application and fee.
Over 90 percent of Colorado’s big game draw hunts require no preference points or just a single preference point in order to successfully draw a license.
One preference point is awarded to an applicant unsuccessful in drawing a license for a first choice hunt code. Researching the number of points required for the units you want to hunt is useful before applying. Go to http://cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/Statistics.aspx to learn more.
Apply or purchase
To complete an application online, the following information is needed:
Current and valid photo ID, hunter education certification, proof of Colorado residency (if applicable), a 2015 Habitat Stamp (will be added to an online application if required), Social Security number for those 12 years and older, hunt codes and a credit card (Mastercard, Visa or Discover).
“Video tutorials and hunt planners are also at their fingertips,” Robbins said. “A little time spent planning will pay off with a memorable Colorado hunt this fall.”
Customer service representatives are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (303) 297-1192 and specially trained hunt planners are available to assist hunters by phone at (303) 291-7526. Hunters also can get personal assistance at one of Parks and Wildlife’s regional service centers in Durango, Denver, Grand Junction or Colorado Springs or at any CPW office or state park.